|11/19/11 46m 55F|
I had the occasion today to deliver a youngster to Franciscan University in Stuebenville, Ohio, and I had about six hours until it was time to retrieve the yute. Since it was 55F I decided to ride my bike along the Wheeling Heritage Trails, which includes the Ohio River Trail and the Wheeling Creek Trail.
Before I could ride, I needed to repair the flat rear tire that I discovered on Friday. I had indications of a slow leak, but as long as I pumped it every few days I was able to evade the issue. On Friday, after five days of no riding, it was flat as a pancake.
I have had too many flats lately. I average one flat (and one fall) every 500 miles, but I'm having more flats per mile this year than in recent years. I've got good tires, but I've recently put some gouges into both tires, and they've both got a few boot-kludges inside of them.
I had stopped at REI and purchased some tire liners and a Slime-filled inner tube.
I would love to get through the winter with my present tires, and more than that I would love to change my recent pattern of changing flats in adverse weather. I installed the tire liner and new tube in a parking lot and then made ready to commence the ride.
It's a very nice trail that passed through both industrial areas and natural scenes. I saw a few people on the trail north of Wheeling, and then in the city boundaries there were quite a few people.
Today's "Most Photogenic" award goes to Cooper The Dog; second honors to his driver for the kicky Bern Helmet.
When you start on the north end of the trail in Wellsburg, you'll see a circle marked on the pavement labeled "Sun". They've used the trail to present a scale model of the solar system, and as you travel south you pass a marker for each planet. It's an interesting way of demonstrating the tremendous distances of the outer planets as compared to the inner planets.
I had a headwind on the first leg going south. I continued past Wheeling to the southern trailhead in South Wheeling, then turned north and took the Wheeling Creek Trail a few miles to the east. The Wheeling Creek Trail involves a few blocks of marked bike lanes on city streets; they've done a very good job of it. There's a cool viaduct and a lit tunnel as the trail climbs away from the river, and the WCT ends at a nicely built skateboard park.
All the various trail sections are well marked, easy to follow, and well maintained. There's not many mile markers, but there are signs for restrooms and food, and signs indicating the local emergency contact phone number.
I wish I knew more about bridges, because this ride takes you by several generations of bridge designs - old, old bridges, some restrung with modern cable, 1945-ish bridges, modern wishbone bridges.
My last hour on the trail was after sunset, which is probably a technical violation of trail rules but I think there may be a waiver for veterans. It does get very dark along the trail.
I have the impression that my tire, with the tire liner and the Slime-tube, takes a bit more effort to accelerate, and tends to slow down just a little bit faster. Or it may be that my legs were dodgy after a five-day layoff.
This was a very nice ride on a great paved trail, and it was good to be out on the bike again.
|[4th quarter: 843 miles]|| |
2011: 4109 miles